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The Boston Globe

Metro

Dorchester men kept in jail on sex trafficking charges

Two Dorchester men accused of trying to lure teenagers into prostitution agreed Friday to remain in detention indefinitely while they await trial on multiple charges, including child sex trafficking and taking minors across state lines for criminal sexual activity.

Lawyers for Anthony M. Pledger, 26, and Miriam J. Kizzie, 21, said their clients might ask to be released on bail in the future. They are due back in court April 14.

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Both pleaded not guilty last month to an indictment filed in US District Court in Boston that alleged that they took minors across the Massachusetts-Rhode Island border for prostitution in October 2013.

Pledger and Kizzie are allegedly members of a Boston street gang named the Thetford Avenue Buffaloes, according to an affidavit written by Lina Awad, a special agent with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations.

The gang wears Buffalo Bills and Texas Rangers gear to distinguish themselves and they associate with two nearby street gangs, the Rosewood Cardinals and Fabyan Falcons, Awad said.

The affidavit describes how street gangs are increasingly turning to sex trafficking as an easy way to make money and avoid the risk of criminal prosecution and stiff penalties that go along with selling illicit drugs and guns.

“Street gang members have become very wary of other means of illegal income, such as drug or gun sales,” she wrote. “In contrast, street gang members view pimping as unlikely to result in criminal prosecution and, in the event that it does, unlikely to result in any kind of penalty.”

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The Thetford Avenue Buffaloes are not thought to run a sex-trafficking operation, Awad wrote. Rather, Pledger and Kizzie are believed to have acted independently of the gang as a part of the alleged plot, she said.

Pledger was arrested last October in Providence, where authorities found him in the company of two missing Massachusetts teenagers, they said. The case was later moved to the federal system.

Pledger and Kizzie were indicted by a grand jury in February and Kizzie was arrested on Feb. 19, court records show. They face a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison on some of the charges, prosecutors said.

Awad described the pair as heavily involved in their gang. Pledger, she said, has a long history of criminal convictions, and has previously “been arrested in the company of other Thetford Ave members, including for gang-related shootings.”

Kizzie, too, has been arrested in the company of other gang members, according to Awad.

In the past year, both have also been victims of shootings.

Laura Crimaldi can be reached at laura.crimaldi@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @lauracrimaldi.

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